City of Joburg refuses to pay hacker’s ransom

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Late last week the City of Joburg declared it had been breached and hackers were demanding a ransom. Should that ransom not be paid, the hackers claimed they would release data gleaned during its hack.

The hackers gave the municipality a deadline to pay and that deadline was 17:00 on Monday 28th October.

As you might expect, the City of Joburg has said it will not pay the ransom.

“I can confirm that the City will not concede to their demands and we are confident that we will be able to restore the systems to full functionality,” Councillor Funzela Ngobeni said in a statement.

“This attack is opportunistic in both its form and its timing. It is opportune in that it is timed to coincide with all City month end processes affecting both supplier payments and customer payments,” the Councillor added.

The City of Joburg has reportedly restored 80 percent of its systems but this does not include e-Services. As such City of Joburg has asked customers to pay their bills using EFT, EasyPay outlets at Pick ‘n Pay and Checkers or the Post Office.

Customers who aren’t able to access their bills are advised to pay their average consumption until such time as services are restored.

This is the second time this year that the City of Joburg has experienced a cybersecurity incident. Earlier this year ransomware gripped the municipality knocking several services offline.

With that in mind, the City of Joburg has enlisted help in the form of international cyber forensic partners which are assisting in getting to the bottom of the breach.

“This attack has reinforced our vigilance and Group Forensic Department, along with relevant state security bodies are investigating the attack,” Ngobeni added.

“Our primary goal is ensuring the restoration of all our services and I want to thank Joburgers – our residents; our citizens; our partners; and our suppliers for their patience during this challenging time,” the Councillor concluded.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.